Jamaicans turned out on July 24 to say farewell to the late former Minister of Agriculture, Public Utilities, Mining and Energy, and Water and Transport, Hon. Horace Clarke, O.J, at the official funeral service, held at the St. Andrew Parish Church in Half Way Tree.
Heading the list were Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen and Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Allen; Leader of the Opposition, the Most. Hon. Portia Simpson Miller; wife of Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding, Mrs. Lorna Golding; former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. PJ. Patterson; members of both Houses of Parliament, and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
In her tribute, Leader of the Opposition, Mrs. Simpson Miller, described Mr. Clarke as a dedicated politician, who served his constituencies (Northern, West Central and Central St. Mary), between 1972 and 2002, and his country, admirably.
Governor-General, His. Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen (right) and Lady Allen (second right), along with (from left), Leader of the Opposition, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller; Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles; former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson; and Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s wife, Mrs. Lorna Golding, raise their voices in song at the official funeral service for the late former Minister, Horace Clarke, held today (July 24), at the St. Andrew Parish Church.
“The remark ‘what a great job you have done’ aptly summarises both the nature and scope of Horace Clarke’s long distinguished and effective service to his beloved country, his parish of St. Mary and constituency,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
She opined that Mr. Clarke would be celebrated in history as one of the greatest Jamaican politicians. “As a Member of Parliament he worked night and day to bring light, hope and opportunities to his people, the people from the parish of St. Mary,” the Opposition Leader said.
Mr. Patterson, who gave the Remembrance, said that Mr. Clarke’s style was to “find the positives in everything, wherever they could be found and to celebrate those positives rather than bemoan what might have been.”
“Horace exuded confidence from early in his life and displayed it throughout his career. He was competitive but fair, whether he was on the playing field or in a political contest, and throughout his life he showed proper respect for friend and foe alike. But Horace never liked to be second in anything,” Mr. Patterson noted.
Former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson gives the Remembrance at the official funeral service for Horace Clarke, former Minister, which was held today (July 24), at the St. Andrew Parish Church.
The former Prime Minister said Mr. Clarke was also an entrepreneur who “sought always to bring a business approach to his public duties. He was a consummate professional and an effective team leader, ready to listen and learn, but prepared to be decisive.”
“He was essentially a man of, and for the people. Those who worked with him as public officials or as community and constituency volunteers fully recognised his deep concern for people’s welfare and well being. He understood the importance both of community development through improved infrastructure, and effective institutional capacity building on the one hand and on the other hand, individual empowerment and facilitation,” Mr. Patterson said.
Tributes were also paid by former Senator, Floyd Morris; niece of the deceased, Deidra Henry-Spires who read a poem; and national performing arts group, Ashe, which did a song entitled ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’.
Scripture lessons were read by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles and Opposition Member of Parliament, Dr. Peter Phillips.
In his sermon, the Right Reverend Dr. Robert Thompson noted that Mr. Clarke was “blessed with a good and happy life for which we thank God.”
“With gratitude we acknowledge his gracious spirit, his life of selfless service to family and friends. Despite retirement from representational politics, Mr. Clarke remained connected to the people of Central St. Mary. As a result they believed he belonged to them as much as he belonged to family and others,” he said.
In addition to over 30 years in public service, he has also left his mark on the country through several business ventures, the most recent of which was his contribution to tourism through his joint ownership of the Mystic Mountain Water Park attraction in St. Ann.
Mr. Clarke, who was 77 years old, died on Saturday, July 10, at the Andrew’s Memorial Hospital in Kingston, after suffering a stroke on July 2. He leaves behind wife, Norma and children.
The final service and interment of Mr. Clarke will take place on Monday, July 26 at 2:00 p.m. at the St. Mary Parish Church, Port Maria, St. Mary.